Bangladesh: UNODC and Ministry of Home Affairs Organize National Dialogue to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Dhaka, Bangladesh/02 August 2023: Emphasizing the importance of raising awareness and fostering international cooperation, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bangladesh--with support of UNODC and the Counter Trafficking in Persons Technical Working Group (CTIP-TWG) of Bangladesh UN Network on Migration--convened a pivotal national event to observe the World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2023.

The dialogue drew participation of over 295 officials from relevant Ministries, government departments, law enforcement, foreign missions, UN agencies, and civil society.

The central theme of the dialogue, "Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind," underscored the necessity for an all-encompassing approach to tackle trafficking in persons effectively. Such a comprehensive strategy involves bolstering victim protection, heightening prevention efforts, and ensuring that perpetrators are brought to justice.

The dialogue was inaugurated by the Home Minister of Bangladesh, Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, who said, " Human trafficking and illegal migration cannot be solved by a single entity, but requires cumulative effort from all stakeholders. Bangladesh is committed to end human trafficking, and we aim to reach every victim and hold every perpetrator accountable.”

Foreign Secretary Mr. Masud Bin Momen reiterated Bangladesh's unwavering commitment to fighting organized crimes, including trafficking in persons. He acknowledged that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, consistent efforts are required to address vulnerabilities and root causes that contribute to human trafficking cases.

Ms. Gwyn Lewis, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, urged the government to ensure that all survivors of trafficking, including Rohingyas, have access to national protection services. She also highlighted the importance of building the capacities of law enforcement agencies to identify, refer victims, and prosecute perpetrators.

UNODC's Regional Representative for South Asia, Mr. Marco Teixeira, echoed the sentiment that more concerted efforts are needed to eradicate this heinous crime and bring traffickers to justice. He referred to UNODC's Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022, which underscores the need for global collaboration to detect victims and increase convictions in trafficking cases.

The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the challenges of combating trafficking, making it more challenging to detect and respond to these crimes. The dialogue addressed these evolving dynamics, emphasizing the urgency of strengthening anti-trafficking responses.

The national dialogue also featured discussions involving high-ranking officials, including Mr. Md. Khairul Alam Sheikh, Additional Secretary (Political & ICT), Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs; Mr. Mir Khairul Alam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment; Mr. Md. Monirul Islam, Additional Inspector General of Police, Special Branch, Bangladesh Police; Mr. Charles Whiteley, Ambassador and Head of Delegation, the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh; Ms. Ishita Rony, Deputy Secretary, Public Security Division of MoHA; Mr. Mahdy Hassan, National Programme Coordinator, UNODC; and Chair, Counter Trafficking in Persons Technical Working Group (CTIP-TWG); Ms. Susan Stamper, Chief of Party, USAID’s Fight Slavery and Trafficking-In-Persons (FSTIP) Activity, Winrock International.

This activity contributed to SDG 5, SDG 8, SDG 16 and SDG 17: